If your knife skills are rusty and your sauces are scorched, take a long weekend and report for duty at Culinary Boot Camp, an intensive five-day program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Boot Camp I (“Basic Training”) includes lectures, tastings, and meals in all four student-run restaurants, plus plenty of hands-on kitchen work. (There is also Boot Camp II, “Advanced Training,” with extra classes in Asian and Italian cuisines.) The campus sits on 150 wooded acres in the Hudson River Valley, but housing is not included. So stay just up the road at the classic Colonial Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, one of the oldest inns in America, where the award-winning American restaurant is run by CIA grad Larry Forgione.
DETAILS Culinary Institute of America, 914-452-2230 or www.ciachef.edu (Boot Camp 1 is $1,750 per person, Boot Camp II $1,950); Beekman Arms, 914-876-7077 or www.beekmanarms.com (rooms start at $95).